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See inside St. Regis Longboat Key ahead of summer opening

General Manager Winfred van Workum details the resort's amenities, and muralist William Savarese outlines how he created the key art piece.

The St. Regis Longboat Key is scheduled to open this summer.
The St. Regis Longboat Key is scheduled to open this summer.
Photo by Carter Weinhofer
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There’s still a lot to do, but St. Regis General Manager Winfred van Workum said the team is moving fast and is on track to open the Longboat Key resort this summer. 

The resort’s reservation system is online, and van Workum said some wedding reservations are already on the books. 

Before the grand opening, though, the resort still needs some construction and a staff. Van Workum said that most of the management positions have been filled and that hiring events for the rest of the staff positions are coming in a little over a month. 

Van Workum offered the Observer a behind-the-scenes tour of the resort. On the tour, he detailed everything from the four restaurants and a 20,000-square-foot spa, down to the woodwork used in the resort’s steakhouse. 

Elegant entrance

When guests arrive at the St. Regis, they will either enter through the resort side or the ballroom side. 

Through the hotel entrance, guests are greeted by an intimate reception area. The unique mural stands as a central focal point. Behind it, guests can walk to the glass doors to get a view of the Gulf of Mexico. 

A rendering of the reception area of the St. Regis Longboat Key, featuring the mural and bar.
Courtesy image

The reception area is seated, so guests checking in can have a one-on-one with a receptionist. 

“It was really designed to be this personal experience,” van Workum said.

Around the mural is a bar, with countertops made from high-end marble. Van Workum said the marble used around the resort was hand-picked by Unicorp CEO Chuck Whittall, and is something that shows the amount of detail put into the resort. 

Also in the reception area will be a grand piano that will feature live music at night. A little farther down the hall, guests can grab a cup of coffee at a small coffee shop or peruse the shelves of a luxury swimwear company that will have special St. Regis Longboat Key designs. 

Behind the mural

Every St. Regis destination has a mural that is a focal point for guests. It’s a welcome piece that exemplifies the feel of the resort and location. 

For the St. Regis Longboat Key, designers worked with muralist William Savarese to create a mural that Savarese describes as abstract in its flavor but, at the same time, figurative in its representation. 

“I think it’s very inviting but, at the same time, it’s very elegant,” Savarese said.

Savarese has created murals for over 40 years, won awards for his work in Denmark and has done projects for cities like Jacksonville and Pompano Beach. 

The St. Regis mural uses floral images to emphasize the location’s cultural history. Bromeliads are a key image that guests might be able to pick out. 

Savarese said he was shown some renderings of the reception area and a general concept for a mural. He went to work analyzing the technical aspects of how to create this mural with elements like the right brush strokes and tones. 

That led to several mock-ups that went back and forth, a process that eventually led to eight days of work to put paint to canvas.

The mural stands as a focal point in the St. Regis Longboat Key reception area.
Photo by Carter Weinhofer 

“It was a process, and that’s what I love about doing murals, is that it’s always something that evolves and you get lost in it,” Savarese said.

When guests enter the St. Regis, the mural is one of the first things they will see. Behind it is a wall of glass that offers a view of the Gulf of Mexico. 

Savarese said, because of that view, he tied in some subtle blues to connect the mural with the water. 

It’s a piece that he hopes demonstrates Sarasota’s natural history, with hints of its legacy of arts and culture. 

Lots of dining 

Within the St. Regis Longboat Key, there are four main restaurants, all with a separate kitchen. 

CW Prime will be an upscale steakhouse. With 130 seats, guests can enjoy steak and seafood either indoors or out on the patio with a Gulf view. 

Just through the entrance to CW Prime is a spirit room that van Workum said will give off a speakeasy vibe. Cocktail connoisseurs can press a button in this room to receive a secret cocktail only made at this spot in the resort. 

Van Workum said chefs will work to include tableside preparation with some dishes at CW Prime. 

Riva is another restaurant in the resort, which van Workum described as a more approachable restaurant with an emphasis on pasta and fish. The word “riva” in Italian means shore. 

Fresh pasta made at a pasta bar will be fun and interactive, van Workum said. 

Two other restaurants are planned for the St. Regis Longboat Key: one that offers Latin cuisine, and another that blends Asian and Peruvian flavors. 

Within one of the four kitchens is a pastry room where chefs will bake fresh bread and wedding cakes. There’s also a chocolate room to create special chocolate pieces. 

Down on the beach will be the Monkey Bar, a connection with local beachgoers and a nod at the site’s history, formerly The Colony. 

Other amenities

Throughout the ballroom side of the St. Regis, there are plenty of meeting spaces, including a large circular boardroom. Still, van Workum said the St. Regis Longboat Key isn’t focused on being a conference resort. 

That’s where the large, oval ballroom comes into play. The shape of the ballroom hints at the Ringling Brothers’ influence on the Sarasota area while giving off an elegant feel.

Van Workum said the St. Regis hopes to host galas, charity events and weddings in the ballroom. 

The 20,000-square-foot spa touches on the theme of the “healing powers of water.” A hair salon, manicure and pedicure stations are among the amenities van Workum hopes will be enjoyed by locals. 

A view from the reception area. The middle of the resort will feature pools and an interactive saltwater lagoon.
Photo by Carter Weinhofer

The spa also features 14 treatment rooms that offer massages and facials for private reservations. There’s also a treatment circuit where guests can go from a sauna to a steam room and a cold plunge. 

Outside, the center of the St. Regis Resort continues the connection to water with pools and a saltwater lagoon. 

The saltwater lagoon will require 350,000 gallons of water and about 110,000 pounds of salt, according to van Workum. A team of marine biologists will take care of about 50 different species, including several stingrays. 

The goal, van Workum said, is to offer an educational experience that includes snorkeling in the lagoon. He said they hope to tie that in with a kids’ program that will offer educational programs inside and immersive experiences outside.

Correction: This article has been updated with the correct amount of water the lagoon will require.


Carter Weinhofer

Carter Weinhofer is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, he moved to St. Petersburg to attend Eckerd College until graduating in 2023. During his entire undergraduate career, he worked at the student newspaper, The Current, holding positions from science reporter to editor-in-chief.